How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


Day 18, Part 2 – More Yangshuo

After our cruise on the River Li, we traveled once again by bus to Yangshuo. We’d paid for an optional tour to visit a rice terrace but it had been cancelled. However, Lily was kind enough to stop along the road for picture taking. She chose places where less traffic passed on the highway, not where everyone found the area interesting for photographing.


  • Breaded lemon chicken (overcooked, hard and dried out)
  • Fried rice with egg – bowl shape (dried out)
  • Ground pork and sticky rice balls (delicious)
  • Corn soup
  • Fried green beans with ground pork (too salty)
  • Mushrooms, eggplant and 2 – 3 carrot slices
  • Slivered peppers, onions and small strips of chicken
  • Broccoli (yay)
  • Sweet and sour pork with red peppers (salty sauce, tough as leather)
  • Spring rolls

This is the first time I hadn’t had much good to say about the food. Are you shocked? The rest of the group praised lunch. If I compared these offerings to yesterday’s dinner I preferred dinner; everyone else said dinner was terrible. Really? Still, I hadn’t been hungry once in China because I couldn’t eat my fill. I usually try a little bit of everything on the menu and am easily full but eat too much anyway.

My father had a saying, “No matter what, praise everything, however not to your liking.” I’ve never liked this type of thinking, but socially we all do react in a similar fashion most of the time. White lies and stretching the truth are a constant in our lives. Pity, social situations demand them.

Shopping at West Street

Sue sped off alone. She likes shopping on her own and not hold anyone up or wait for them. Bonnie and I paired up. Neither of us had grand plans of buying anything. I’m not much of a shopper.

She did buy some costume jewelry: a couple Cloisonne look-alike bracelets, and I broke down and bought a necklace for my daughter. Neither was expensive. I found similar bracelets run around $25.00 each online, but she didn’t pay anywhere near that, nor did I.

Images of Real Cloisonne Jewelry

Meanwhile her husband wanted to explore and climb Bilian Peak (also called Green Lotus Mountain), but access was closed due to reconstruction. He did take some wonderful photos as he wandered along the River Li. “Still much better than shopping,” he said.

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Afterwards, the afternoon was free. I stayed at the hotel to rest and read. Sue and some of the ladies opted for massages. I recall they were around $20.00 USD for an hour’s workout.

Supper Monday (at another hotel, not the one we’re staying at)

  • Tomato and egg soup
  • Breaded lemon chick with corn, (chewy, hard and over-cooked)
  • Fat French Fries
  • Steam white rice
  • Sweet and sour pork
  • Eggplant (in tasty sauce)
  • Ham with sprouts, cucumber sliced small and green onions
  • Beef and onions
  • Finely sliced vegetables (a mystery but tasty)
  • Orange slices with skins on for dessert
  • tea

One of the men from our English Group 8 invited Lily, our tour guide, to eat with us, but she declined. It is company policy guides not eat with the clients. Why? Because it’s policy. The guide with the French Group, sat with his people all the time we told her. She made no comment. I wonder if he’d come with them all the way from Montreal.

Lily had a room at the same hotel we stayed at a floor above us, same as had Lisa. Our previous guides, Robert, Jackie and Steve lived in their respective cities and went home at the end of each day.

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Additional Rice Field Images

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Next on March 6: Day 19, Part 1 – Yangshuo to Guilin

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


China 12: Dog meat in brown sauce

Let's CUT the Crap!:

Here’s another China journal back from the late eighties. I mentioned dog only once. Here is a longer commentary.

Originally posted on Writer's notebook:

Copyright Elaine Canham, 2015 Copyright Elaine Canham, 2015

Continuing my 1985 diary of a trip to China

The bus next stopped at Huaquing Hot Springs, where we were offloaded for three hours. It was bitterly cold. We ate jaozis in a shack and had a look round the springs. People were queuing up for baths and the surroundings were beautiful – but cold. Every tea house was closed. We asked a woman outside a pagoda where we could rest or eat.

‘Mayo,’ she said. ‘Not have. All closed.’

We trailed off, and then Elspeth, who had looked through the windows of the pagoda, said: ‘There’s loads of settees in there. I bet they serve tea.’

‘Right,’ said Cheryl, so we went in and asked the woman for tea.

She looked at us in astonishment. ‘Oh, you want tea?’ She was amazed that we wanted tea, when we had said we had wanted two different…

View original 511 more words



Tired of waiting, I paced from the front room to the kitchen. Hurry up, Ma. What’s taking so long?

I pulled the curtain aside. Franco and Smitty raced up and down the dusty road. Anxious to join them, I gazed over my shoulder at the kitchen wall. The long arm on the cuckoo clock crept one tentative lurch at a time. I slumped into a chair again. Ma!

My baby sister, Caterina, stacked and whacked her blocks on the sloping linoleum. She jabbered baby talk, drool sliding down her chubby chin and onto her chest. I peered at the clock again. Tick. Tock. My chair creaked; I couldn’t sit still. A hint of last night’s spaghetti sauce and Ciabatta bread still hung in the air.

Urgent fists pounded on the front door. The baby’s jaw shot up. She clutched a red block in mid-air. With heart thumping and ears burning, I raced to see who it might be.

Mrs. Fournier, from across the road, shifted from foot to foot on the veranda, clasping and unclasping her reddened hands. A bleached cotton headscarf, worn in the bandana style, covered her hair as always. I didn’t know if she even had hair. Her face chalk white, she chewed on her bottom lip. “Excusez-moi…Maman, Rosalia?”

“Shopping. She’ll be home soon. What, Mrs. Fournier?”

“Téléphone—not worry, mon enfant, you only eight—où…?”

“At the P&G, I think. You want me to find her?”

Non—Oui!” She nodded, head bobbing like a tethered balloon. “Vous allez. Rapide.” She clapped her hands like a school teacher.

“I can run fast, Mrs. Fournier. You look after Caterina?” I pointed to the baby, grabbed my sweater and ripped across the lawn. Telephone. Never good news. Where would Ma go first?

 A few minutes later, my lungs burned and my side pinched. Pebbles from the gravel road attacked my bare calves. A penny loafer flew off. I staggered and pitched forward onto the sharp stones, sprang up and shoved my foot back inside. My scraped hands burned. I rounded the corner and tore up the concrete sidewalk on Godfrey Street, the main street in town.

Mrs. Kowalski and Mrs. MacDonald blocked my way. They regarded me with interest as I danced around them.

“You need to use the bathroom, dear?” Mrs. MacDonald stooped over me as far as her arthritic back would allow.

“No. I’m looking for Ma. Did you see her in the P&G maybe?”

“Yes, Rosalia, she’s there.”

“Saturday busy. Everything is okay?” Mrs. Kowalski the nosey one asked, her eyes sharp and probing as a crow’s.

“Thank you. Bye.” I rushed up the sidewalk to the end of the block, through P&G’s door and smack into Ma in line to pay. She swerved against the supporting pillar beside her. The carpetbag partially-full of groceries, swung at her side. The edge of the wooden handles collided with my hip.

“Ma, Mrs. Fournier says come home quick. She’s home with Caterina.”

“What is it, Rosalia?” My mother’s eyes, bright a moment before, faded and her face took on the washed out color of our neighbour’s kerchief.

“I don’t know. She said telephone. You think it’s about Daddy?”

“Excuse. Excuse.” Ma pushed her way to the counter and grabbed the checkout lady’s forearm. “You take, Giselle.” She heaved the cloth bag, handles clacking, to the cashier. “I come later pay.  Go home now.” Customers who’d moved back to make room, patted her back and shoulders. Franco’s mother was one of them. Lips pinched tight, she closed her eyes and nodded.

I clutched Ma’s hand; we rushed through the door. People stepped out of the way. I tugged her arm all the way home for three endless blocks, her body stiff as the Tin Man. I peeked at her face. I hoped the news wasn’t bad. “Come on Ma. We’re almost home.” Lips moving without sound, she stared straight ahead.

I dropped her hand and sprinted ahead up the stairs to open the door. Ma staggered in behind me. Mrs. Fournier grabbed her arm as soon as we crossed the threshold. The bedroom door slammed in my face. I hunched forward with my ear to the door.


End of Part 1

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


How To Protect Your Blog, by Hugh Roberts

Let's CUT the Crap!:

Excellent advice.

Originally posted on Forest Garden:



Hugh Roberts is a true blogging friend.  Not only an extremely generous and warm-hearted soul, Hugh is exceptionally clever about the nuts and bolts side of blogging.  When I discovered my posts plagiarized by an Aussie web site a few weeks ago, Hugh immediately offered support, a healthy dose of shared outrage, and then some very practical advice.

Loyal readers and I had a number of good conversations after that episode through the comments, emails, and even some phone calls.  It heightened our awareness of how vulnerable our work remains when published online.  That is when I invited Hugh to write a guest blog for Forest Garden, giving solid technical support to help all of us with things like watermarks,widgets, disclaimers, and copyrights.  February 20, 2015 hearts 004

Hugh has come through in fine style, and I hope you will enjoy his guest blog post today:


How To Protect Your Blog


View original 786 more words


Paper Pirates Possibility

Let's CUT the Crap!:

Pirating is alive and well. Beware.

Originally posted on Jo Robinson:

Something’s got me seriously confused. I saw a post about getting your books taken down from some pirate sites, so as a matter of interest I googled mine again, and found that not only has African Me been loaded on to heaps more torrent sites for free or paid download, but that now Shadow People has joined the pirate party as well. The thing that’s got me wondering is that they’re both being offered on ebay too as paper books. I stopped looking after four different sellers there. (Click on pics to see them bigger)

African Me Satellite TV Robinson Jo 1492719102   eBay.png1

At first I thought it could be a reader selling them second hand, but when I had a proper squiz I saw that they’re being offered as brand new/unopened. The sellers have multiple copies too – ten each mostly in stock, and they’re selling them for less than what Amazon’s charging for them.

Shadow People The Finding Robinson Jo   eBay

I looked…

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Yangshuo: Day 18, Part 1 – River Li

After breakfast the bus drove through the Yangshuo countryside on the way to the River Li.

Quick Facts

  • Yangshuo is known for pomelo and persimmon trees
  • Smoking and drinking the hardest vices to control
  • Cigarettes very cheap: as low as $1:00 per pack
  • 90% of men smoke
  • Restaurants have ‘No Smoking’ signs but cannot enforce (afraid to lose customers)
  • Cigarettes bring in taxes (so no smoking not yet imposed)
  • Phoenix Tail Bamboo is used to make clothes and underwear, softer than cotton
  • Chinese people are never quiet; always talking about everything around them
  • They cook and eat dog here, using lots of spices to flavor the meat (i.e. orange peel)
  • People in the country don’t like their pictures taken because you are stealing their spirit (shorten their lives)
  • Don’t like pictures taken of babies, especially, but sometimes, they will charge money (?)
  • Because of tourists, the locals make a good life
  • Vegetable stands everywhere tourists pass
  • Homegrown vegetables + rice, fruit
  • Countryside littered with paper and garbage until you reach the city


At the concert the previous night, no-one clapped, no-one shut-up; everyone had a camera taking pictures and videos. In the dark a sea of cameras lit up the dark like candle throughout the audience.

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All land is owned by the government. If you want to build a house, you must apply to the Village Committee (like a village government) and apply to lease the land for 70 years. Sometimes, you can renew the lease and pass your house, apartment, condo or especially farms until the government has other plans for the land your family has lived on for hundreds of years.

We stopped at an old farmhouse along the way to the River Li for our cruise. Here a Caucasian tourist tries out the old-fashioned broom.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Down a country road, lined with stands of food and trinkets for sale, we followed Lily, our guide. The people stared at us and we tried not to stare at them. Our cruise boat was old, rusty, not what I’d call clean and run by locals. The gangplank appeared to have wood rot (holes in it) and I stepped carefully. We sat topside instead of inside on old wooden chairs and new benches as the weather was co-operative. Of course, there were trinkets inside for tourists as well as soft drinks.

We were about 25 tourists onboard. One woman with her son and daughter and another mother with her daughter (all in early teens) and a couple families of flip-flop-clad Australians with six youngsters between six and 14 were all onboard. I felt in good company. No way could I have worn runners. My feet at this point of our trip felt broken.

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We passed water buffalo on the shore and for the first time, noticed countryside litter: plastic bags and empty cigarette packages. Electrical towers were seen in the weirdest places, in the middle of nowhere, but farmers still live in the old ways. They have a well, but no plumbing.

Winter (January / February) are not good for tourists. It is too cold and there is no heating system here. One must sleep in a coat. On the other hand, summer is hot and humid and the opposite around July. Another drawback, the water level is high on the River Li and not good for water travel because it is too fast and dangerous.

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River Cruise Additional Links:

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Next on February 27: Day 18, Part 2 –More Yangshuo 

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #168

To join in, click below:

 This week’s prompt is …the blue was sapphire… + 100 words



Drink in hand, I skimmed the room. Lights blazed, children squealed, and the discordant orchestra tuned up. Receptions are boring without a date.

A commotion caught my attention. Upswept copper curls bobbed through the crowd. A pale cerulean gown, delicate as angels’ breath, floated towards me. The exquisite creature peered up brows raised, her eyes—the blue was sapphire—like the gem… “Can I help you?” My voice cracked.

“Get me out of here, please?” She drifted forward. Like a puppy after a treat, I loped behind her. The night might not be a complete waste.

“Where to?”

“A drive maybe?”

“Husband problems?”



© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles


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